Like in most developing countries, healthcare professionals are not enough nor is close to the ideal ratio in relation to the rest of the population. This goes for physicians, nurses, dentists and even medical technologists. In the Philippines, radiologists are in short supply in the rural areas where 60% of the population reside.
With the use of more and more advanced medical equipment and services to close the gap in serving the healthcare demands of the population, radiologists that are essential in such systems, particularly in medical imaging are very much needed. They play an essential role in partnering with physicians in an increasing range of specialities, from orthopaedics to obstetrics. Such critical links in diagnosis and treatment must be addressed so as to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare service.
Eric Schulze, CEO of Lifetrack Medical Systems, is one of the founding fathers of tele-radiology. After earning an MD-PhD from UC San Francisco in 1990 and completing a radiology residency at Harvard’s Mass General Hospital, he spent the early part of his career developing software systems for digital transmission and remote reading of medical images. He then built a successful tele-radiology business with offices around the world, including in far-flung locations like India, the Philippines, and Singapore.
Tele-radiology services are widely used today, but many developing countries still lack enough experienced radiologists to read images. The simple solution is to train more, but there’s a catch-22: as in many medical specialties, true radiology expertise can only be honed by apprenticing with an experienced practitioner.
A Philippine startup, Lifetrack works around this problem by using web-based applications to pair the apprentice (or “resident” in American parlance) with experienced practitioners, regardless of location. The system feeds medical images to residents, who make an initial reading in a browser-based viewer that supports their assessments with interactive educational materials and reference manuals. Residents then submit their reports online to a senior radiologist, who edits and sends them back with comments.
In addition to selling this software, Lifetrack also operates its own reading facility in Manila. After building radiology teams around the world, Schulze chose to set up shop in the Philippines because of the untapped talent he sees in the country. He says that Filipinos are easy to teach because they are open to criticism and eager to learn—qualities he didn’t always find among medical professionals in other emerging markets.
Lifetrack Medical Systems is a startup from Kickstart Ventures.
Source: Readings from Forbes.com.
Article written by Will Greene. He also blogs regularly at TigerMine.com.
Part of this article was originally published on Techonomy.com.
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